The Gujarat High Court on Friday reserved its order in the petitions filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party's MP Sanjay Singh, both challenging the decision of a Sessions Court which had upheld the summons issued against the duo in a defamation case filed against them by the Gujarat University [Sanjay Singh vs Gujarat University]..Single-judge Justice Hasmukh Suthar reserved the order after hearing Senior Advocates Rebecca John and Nirupam Nanavaty who were representing Arvind Kejriwal and Gujarat University respectively. The defamation complaint against Kejriwal and Singh was filed by Gujarat University which alleged that the two politicians made "defamatory" statements against it for not disclosing the degree of Prime Minister Modi. Appearing for both Kejriwal and Singh, John argued that the University cannot file a complaint of defamation against the accused because the statement alleged to be defamatory was made against someone else."Statements aren't against the University and also aren't defamatory. It is against someone else. Statements do not state that University gave out a forged or duplicate degree. The target audience is someone else. I am not getting into right wrong moral immoral statement because this is a legal proceeding," John argued. The accused nowhere said that the university forged the degree, John underscored."How there has been any defamatory imputation against the university. Both my clients have not said that the university has forged the degree. The context is not the university. Nowhere have the two men said that University has forged the degree or has given a farzi degree. There was no intent to defame the university at all," John contended.Even on a plain reading of the complaint made by the university, no allegations justifying Sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) are made out, she said..Background.The defamation case arose after Gujarat High Court had ruled in March 2023 that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) need not furnish the degree and post-graduate degree certificate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).Single-judge Justice Biren Vaishnav set aside the order of the Chief Information Commission (CIC) directing the public information officer (PIO) of PMO and the PIOs of Gujarat University and Delhi University to furnish details of Modi's graduate and post-graduate degrees. Pertinently, the High Court imposed costs of ₹25,000 on Arvind Kejriwal as well.In December 2023, Kejriwal filed an appeal challenging the single-judge's decision before a division bench of the High Court. This appeal is still pending before the High Court.Meanwhile, the Gujarat University filed a defamation complaint alleging that the two politicians made "defamatory" statements against it for not disclosing the degree of Prime Minister Modi. A magistrate summoned them to face trial in this defamation case in April last year and the same was upheld by the sessions court.The High Court in August last year refused to grant an interim stay on these proceedings, which was upheld by the Supreme Court as well..Hearing today.John today argued that the University comes within the purview of 'State' as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution of India and thus, the varsity cannot file a complaint like this and that there is a separate procedure under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which allows only a public prosecutor to lodge a complaint on behalf of public servants or State instrumentalities. As far as Singh is concerned, John pointed out that he never uploaded the video of his alleged defamatory statements on his X (earlier Twitter) handle "Yet the complainant has claimed that it downloaded the video from my client's handle and has stored it in a pen drive and submitted before the Magistrate. It is my contention that the Magistrate hasn't conducted an enquiry and this has caused miscarriage of justice. It was incumbent upon the complainant to bring someone from Twitter to prove that the video was uploaded. The Magistrate failed in its duty prescribed under Section 202 (conduct an enquiry on a plaint) of the CrPC," John submitted. John further said that the video in the pen drive on which the Magistrate has relied to issue the summons, is not a primary evidence but a secondary one and thus is invalid and cannot be relied upon..Further the senior advocate pointed out that the complainant, in order to support its case, examined witnesses who are none but the employees of the University. "If you are part of the University how can the statements in question, lower the reputation of the varsity in your eyes... Law says reputation must be lowered in the eyes of others. They have examined witnesses who are employees. The law says lowering the reputation in the estimation of others, which means someone else and not the employees. When I am employee, my status merges with that of the University. I get paid by the university itself," the Senior Advocate underscored. .Countering the contentions, University's counsel Nanavaty submitted that the plea in the case has already been recorded and both Singh and Kejriwal have already pleaded not guilty and thus the instant appeal is infructuous."I don't say convict them right now. I just say let them face trial. Let the trial court decide if an offence is made out. But at the threshold if you want to arrest the due process of law, then you must have sterling material in your favour," Nanavaty said on behalf of the varsity. Further, Nanavaty argued that the term "lowering reputation in estimation of others" in Section 499, doesn't mean that others should be some "aliens thinking that the university's reputation has been lowered.""I have so many employees, there are affiliated colleges, there are teachers, students, alumni etc. The witnesses are amongst them. They think that by the statements made, the reputation of the University has tarnished," Nanavaty said. To this, Justice Suthar pointed out that in such a situation, the reputation must be tarnished in the estimation of others, which would mean the general public. "As argued by the other side, you (University) haven't examined any public member as such, who might think that your reputation has been harmed. All the witnesses share the same interest as you," the Court observed. The Court then closed the matter for judgment. It is likely to pronounce the verdict on February 16.